Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sticking it to the MAN

Recently, David and I decided we were going to do our part of sticking it to the MAN and have our cable shut off. The MAN in this scenario is Time Warner Cable. Now I am not exactly sure why they are the MAN, but David assures me it has something to do with exorbitant prices, dwindling services and their attempt to make it illegal to do his new job (TWC tried to get the NC legislature to pass a bill essentially stating that Fiber to the Home done by localities is illegal in NC).

Assured they were the MAN, I could see some benefits of our new entertainment package and easily conceded to the idea. We would:

1. Save money each month.
2. Not spend as much time mindlessly surfing through 100 channels looking for mindless junk to fill in our evenings.

We have since acquired a new antenna, digital converter box and have signed up for Netflix. So far, I am pretty pleased. We are definitely saving money, but I am finding that the mindless surfing still occurs, it just takes less time and usually ends up on some PBS documentary.

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good PBS documentary, but there is only so much one needs to know about Black Beard's ships (which seems to be this months PBS favorite), the Appalachian Mountains and the antitque vase Great Aunt Edna bought for $15 50 years ago.

In addition to multiple PBS stations, we are also now getting ION, Qubo and Worship TV. ION is random older shows, Qubo plays good, morally uplifting cartoons (including Veggie Tales and 321 Penguins) and Worship TV, well it is not as exciting as I thought it would be.

Instead of some rocking David Crowder Band, they play acoustical music with pretty still pictures and instead of great sermons by any number of awesome pastors, hour long Gaither Family CD commercials (which I confess, I actually watched once- but only because the guide said the comedy guy who sings the Chik Fil A song was supposed to be on. Big BUMMER that the guide was wrong!)

Overall, I am pleased with our sticking it to the MAN entertainment package so far. Still, we will see how well sticking it to the MAN sticks when football season comes around and Virginia Tech's games are all on ESPN. Till then, I think I will go see if they found Black Beard's ship (again).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Striving

Do you ever have those days that whenever you turn on the radio a certain song is playing and it seems either the radio station happens to be overplaying the good music or that God is trying to get your attention? (Or if you listen to the radio station I do, it might be both since they do have a tendency to play the same songs over and over again.)

Last week was one of those moments for me. Whenever I turned on the radio, I heard Tenth Avenue North's By Your Side.

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?


The first couple of times I heard the song, I liked it, but dismissed that it had any meaning for me. "Of course, I know that you can't earn grace," was the thought that quickly came to my mind. After hearing it a couple more times, I knew God was trying to get me to dig a little deeper. So I started to think exactly for what do I strive? What is striving anyways?

Striving according to dictionary.com is to exert oneself vigorously; try hard, to make strenuous efforts toward any goal, to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict. It's synonyms include to toil and to struggle.

For what am I striving? Day to day, I would say the things I strive for include being a good mom, a good wife, keeping a clean home, getting my Bible Study done before Monday night, cooking good meals, staying connected with friends...to name just a few.

Each of these things at some point can be a struggle for me. I have to work hard, even toil a little, to accomplish any of this on any given day.

So where does the grace come in then? Do I do the work to earn God's approval? No, I don't think that is quite it. Do I give myself enough grace when I fail to meet the goals I strive to obtain? Ouch, that might be it exactly.

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching?
As if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child,
Tell me where will you run?
To where will you run?


I think my striving with grace goes back to the idea that I am richly supplied. I have been lavished with the all the grace I will ever need, but do I recognize it or allow it to permeate my life? Or do I continue to struggle and toil, feeling like a failure on so many fronts?

I will never be the perfect mom/wife/friend, etc. My house will never be spotless. Sometimes, I will not get my study done in time. And, you know what? It is okay. God still loves me with an intense passion. He still uses this broken vessel. When I am striving to meet my own expectations or the expectations of others or this world, I need to remember His grace which He lavishes upon me.

Cause I'll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
Please don't fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poop, it does a baby good.

Nathan has taken up a new habit. Since starting to eat veggies on Sunday, he has taken up the impressive habit of pooping. Now you might be asking yourselves, "What is so impressive about a baby pooping?" Trust me, when a boy goes from pooping maybe 2 times in six days to pooping at least six times a day for the past two plus days, you too would be impressed.

I asked David if he was worried about Nathan's overactive colon and he said something to the effect of not worrying, it was still learning how to handle solids, etc. As I was agreeing with him, he said, "Yeah and since I am not the one having to change the diapers, it really isn't bothering me at all." Hmm...so the real story comes out.

I then went to my next trusted source (the internet) to see if this is a normal thing or if I need to call the Guinness Book of World Records in the morning. You would be amazed at the huge amount of info to be found on baby poop. My favorite site went through the baby poop rainbow. Amazing, simply amazing.

Finally, late this afternoon, I left a message with the nurse at the peds office just to get their take on Nathan's newest habit. I did not hear back from them and will try them again in the morning....after cleaning up Nathan's newest habit once again.

Edited to add: Doc's not worried. Seems this is fairly normal. Oh well, guess I should not try the Guinness Book after all. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only three more weeks of CBS until we are free for the summer. Please do not get me wrong, I love CBS. I enjoy the learning, the fellowship, the friends. I am called to be a part of leadership but,

I am tired and a little weary if I am totally honest.

This year in leadership has been a blessing as my CBS sisters helped me to welcome Nathan into the family, but it has been harder than I thought it would be and

I am tired and a little weary if I am totally honest.

I am trying to do my best to finish strong this race... reminding myself that God is my strength, my endurance, my patience.

"...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

..."do not grow weary of doing good." 2 Thessalonians 3:13

but,

I am tired and a little weary if I am totally honest.

Someone will have to remind me of this post come the end of summer when I am begging for CBS to start again. Until then,

I am tired and a little weary if I am totally honest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Top Ten Memories of Cousins 09

This weekend we got to spend some time with David's parents and his sister and her family, who live in Germany. Caleb and Nathan had a blast with their cousins, Isabella (8), Gwendolyn (4), Beatrix (3) and Josephine (6 mo). We hid Easter Eggs, played tag, visited great grandparents, climbed trees and made many special memories.

"Top Ten Memories of Cousins 09"

10. Playing Outside at Nana and Papa's house. Tag, you're it!


9. While visiting David's grandfather, we got to meet his friend, Big'un. Although he is in his 90's Big'un is still pretty big. Later, we found out Big'un has a twin, Little'un.
And no, I am not making that up.

8. While wrestling on the floor, David compared the kids to a pack of sharks.
Caleb: No, daddy, we are a bunch of whales eating a shark.
David: I guess that makes you a pod of whales then.
Beatrix: I want to be an Ipod of whales!

7. Tree climbing!




6. Chik Fil A Fun! YAY! Papa took us all out to lunch.
Caleb and I were sitting with Nana when he decided to let her in on a little secret..."Nana, do you know how stinky my poo is? Woowee it stinks!"
Thrilling lunchtime conversation there.

5. When beavers attack!
David's grandmother was telling us a story of a beaver nearby who attacked and killed a cat and then attacked a man who shot it...both of which is amazing since I think beavers only eat plants. Caleb decided to share another personal insight with his great grandmother:
Caleb: What if the beaver used his big tail and smacked your p*nis?
Grandma: Caleb, I didn't hear you. Can you repeat that?
No, no he will not repeat that.

4. Easter Egg hunts!


3. Get him, Caleb!
After dinner one evening, Papa was teasing Caleb, who came up to me whining about it. I told him to stop fussing and go get papa. My ever obedient child walked up to papa, pulled back his leg as far as he could and kicked him in the shin with all his might. The look on Papa's face was pure shock. I laughed so hard I cried! Hard to tell your 3 year old we don't kick when you can't keep a straight face.

2. Baby Love
Nathan and Josephine are a little over a month apart in age. They took to each other immediately. During mealtimes, they laid on the floor just cooing and smiling at each other. I can only imagine the fun they will have together as they grow up and join in with their older cousins.


And the number one memory...

1. Simply getting to spend time with those we love dearly.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Fun

E

Eat, eat, eat. We had a good time with the food for sure. Ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, cookies... Now before you start thinking, "Wow, look at the Martha Stewart on that one!" you should know I burnt the ham cooking it a new way and failed to defrost the rolls, which resulted in a last minute trip to Food Lion. Hey, what is Easter without a last minute trip to the grocery store and a little charred pork?

Edible? That is questionable when it came to the Easter Story Cookies we made. Caleb had a blast pounding pecans and the scriptural lesson was really meaningful. Still, the cookies look like giant marshmallows and taste like sugary chalk. Caleb likes them, but David and I think they are quite yucky.

Caleb pounding pecans:


A

Antenna adjusting- We have a new entertainment set-up in the Richards household, which I hope to be sharing more about at a later date. Let's just say David spent a large amount of time on the roof and in the attic on Sunday trying to get this all situated.

Attended a beautiful service at church on Sunday morning. Caleb came up with us to "big church." He did really well for a squirmy three year old. Although, I doubted how much he paid attention, we prayed in the service for the team going to Africa this week and this morning, he got his bags all together for his own trip to Africa. The fact that he was wearing swim trunks this morning made it even funnier, of course.



S

Singing- There is just something special when your three year old wakes up singing "Jesus is Alive! Jesus is Alive! Glory Hallelujah! Jesus is Alive!"



T

Talented- Nathan shared two new talents with us this weekend- Playing with his feet and sitting up (kind of) unassisted! What a big boy our five month old is!




E

Eating again! Nathan had his first rice cereal on Easter morning. He says it tastes a little better than the Easter Story Cookies, but not much.



R

Resurrection Redeemer Renewal Rest-giver Relationship


So many reasons to celebrate this Easter. My heart is overflowing with a love that I know I will never deserve. For at the perfect time, God allowed His Son to take my punishment so that I could have a relationship with Him. Moreover, my Savior, my Redeemer, LIVES...just as much on Easter Monday, as Easter Sunday, as on every day in the year. To quote my 3 year old, "Glory Hallelujah!"







Thursday, April 9, 2009

Das Not Funny Friday



I know this is early, but around here if I do not do something when I get a chance, more than likely it will not get done...plus these pictures were taken on a Friday, so it kind of counts...

Today's "Das Not Funny" edition is a photo edition. Last Friday, our dear friends Betsy and Salem came over and played. We had a great time and got some super funny pictures. Don't forget to click on the button above to link up with some other "Das Not Funny Friday" stories.


Crazy woman driver...

Turn those tunes up Salem!

Chillin' with my man Caleb...

And you called me crazy?!?

Have a fabulous weekend and a very blessed Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Most Important Day of the Year

When I was in college, I had a good friend who was Jewish by tradition, not by practice. I can remember a conversation we had after he visited his girlfriend's Christian church on Easter. He wondered if the people around him really got the importance of this day to their faith. He recognized that this should be the most important day of their year, but doubted that the others truly got it. I can distinctly remember nodding my head in agreement with him, wondering if I really got it either.

Looking back, I can tell you I had no clue then just how important Easter truly is. Now I know that the story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is the cornerstone upon which I wish to build my life. I am tremendously excited that Sunday is Easter!

My Easter traditions growing up included the Easter bunny bringing a basket of goodies, a new dress and often fun times with my cousins. Unfortunately, it did not include learning about the real reason for the holiday. I know I will continue some of the traditions: dying Easter eggs, a basket of goodies from Mom and Dad and hopefully fun times with family. Still, I would like to start some of our own traditions to teach my boys why this day is so very important.

This year I am thinking of making these Easter Story Cookies. It looks like fun and I think it is cool that there is scripture to go along with each step.

What about you? What are your family's Easter traditions? How will you be celebrating the most important day of the year?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Happy Place

Our playdate this morning was a no go, so we went and had lunch at our favorite place (Chik Fil A) with our favorite person (Daddy!). In honor of this wonderful occasion, I thought I would share this funny, but oh so true, video with you.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Simple and profound

For the last couple of weeks, God has been teaching something incredibly simple, but so very profound.

God is good.

So simple. So profound. So hard to understand and even to believe sometimes.

When the guests arrived for Hope Lives, looking unsure/forlorn/upset/uncertain, God was good.
When the guests left from Hope Lives, smiling/laughing/pride in their steps, God was good.

When the Edwards shared on Sunday about their daughter's miraculous cure from cancer, God was good.
When they shared about her death three years later, God was good.

When Mckmama shares about Stellan's hard/manic/heart breaking days, God is good.
When she shares that his little heart is doing better, God is good.

When Nathan naps well, Caleb stays happy most of the day and peace reigns in the Richards' home, God is good.
When Nathan is crying, Caleb is fussing and I am about to lose it, God is still good.

The psalmist writes, "For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones."

God is good.

The psalmists write, "You are good and do good" and "The Lord is good to all and His mercies are over all His works" and "The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds."

God is good.

Again, so simple. So profound. So hard to understand and even to believe sometimes.

You see, I struggle with this truth. Not so much on days like today, when everything is going well, but on those days that are dark, heartbreaking, soul torturing days, I find it hard to say "God is good." I went so far as to tell God He was lying about that last verse. "God, kind in all your deeds? No way! I don't see it." Do you want to know what He said?

I am good.

Simple, profound and true.
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